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June 25, 2017 / Jett

Doom (2016) Single Player Review

Welcome to Hell. On Mars. In the world of Doom, it’s just another day at the office. As a reboot to the seminal shooter of the same name, Doom tries its hardest to make its original formula work in modern times. Somehow, Id and Bethesda pulled it off with flying colours.

The story at its core is just as you remember it. You play as an unnamed Marine trapped on a Mars facility that has been overrun with demons from Hell. As a kid playing Doom in its prime, the classic game never really sold me on its atmosphere. I felt like I was in a nondescript level shooting aliens. This though, is uncomfortable just to watch. Its grimy art direction and punishing metal soundtrack truly convey the sense of Hell on Mars, and it’s fantastic.

In an era where the Call of Duty style of shooter reigns supreme, Doom is a jarring, but welcome throwback. All of the facets that comprise a game from the series are here, from insanely quick action to labyrinth-style levels that require key cards for further access. What stops the game from feeling old is its refined combat engine.

Combat has been designed in a way that constantly presses players to mix things up. For one, ammo for every gun except the pistol is in short supply, making it essential to switch guns when you’re short on ammo. The game also introduces the concept of Glory Kills to the mix. Press the right stick when an enemy is on the verge of defeat to obliterate them with your hands and feet. While it’s generally best to fight from afar, performing Glory Kills will cause the enemies to drop precious health and ammo.

If you’re really running low on supplies or health, whip out the chainsaw. Mowing down an enemy will drop a ton of health and ammo, but you’ll need to find gasoline to keep it running. When all of these systems come together, you’re constantly engaged in a death ballet that’s more fun that it sounds on paper. Just when things start to go stale, the game does a great job of spicing things up with new weapons or new enemies to square off against.

With classic Doom, I ultimately never got very far in it due to how often I would get lost in its maze-like levels. The labyrinths return, but the experience of working through them makes a lot more sense. Each level has a number of different objectives to achieve, which you can track at the top of the screen. Your distance to the objective point will appear there, giving you at least a general idea of where to go.

On top of that, the maps shade in all of the areas you’ve visited while keeping the areas you’ve missed dark. By doing so, it’s clear to see places where there could be secrets or paths to your objective. Finally, the level designs in general just seem better. Even when I would wander off the beaten path cause I saw something cool, I rarely got lost. If I did, finding my way was a fairly straightforward exercise.

As the stakes and the enemy threats increase, so do your abilities. All of your weapons and gear can be upgraded throughout, making you a formidable killing machine by the end of it. Besides seeing your health and armor numbers go up, it was great to see all of the tangible improvements to your guns, as they would oftentimes change how your guns look and definitely in how they fire.

Having struggled to find its sea legs outside of the 90s, Doom is back and it’s awesome. It manages to bring the original to life in a way that makes perfect sense in modern times while staying true to so much of what made the original great in its heyday. In fact, I think with the benefits of modern technology, great art direction and an excellent choice of music, the feeling of being in Hell on Mars comes through so much better now than it ever did before. If you haven’t already, time to pull out the boomstick and start blasting demons like it’s 1993.

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